In October and November our eye health promoter, Felipe, made two more trips to San Benito, Petén with patients needing eye surgeries. Both trips were to the Vincente Pescatore clinic, operated by Visualiza in Guatemala City.
In October Felipe accompanied 18 patients and in November 22 patients went. During these 2 trips 15 cataract surgeries were performed, 8 surgeries for pterygia (a growth on the cornea) and 2 eyelid surgeries were completed.
Some of the patients making the trips were unable to undergo surgeries due to ocular inflammations. They were given medications to reduce the inflammations and will return for their eye surgeries at a later date.
On each trip the patients stay in a hotel for 2-3 nights and take their meals at a local restaurant. Enfoque Ixcán pays this part of the patient expenses, as well as the surgery charges. Felipe stays with them to make sure they are comfortable and using their post-surgical medications correctly.
The 5-hour bus ride to San Benito and the return trip to Ixcán are made more affordable by taking a large group and hiring a private bus. This also cuts down the time of travel, as only one stop is made for lunch. Enfoque Ixcán asks that each patient to pay their travel costs. This is their investment in the total cost of the surgical procedure and usually comes to only $12 to $15.
Requiring the patients to pay a portion of the costs gives them some responsibility in the process. Most of our patients are glad to contribute, even though $15 represents a couple days wages. By taking part in a portion of the costs, the patients think more seriously about the surgeries and are more compliant with the necessary follow-up care.
Can you help us do more?
Our total cost for a cataract surgery is $125.
If you would like to help us provide more eye surgeries, please make a tax-deductible donatin using the blue Paypal button in the upper right of this page.